khaizarin said: Dear Mr. Gaiman. I'm an aspiring writer looking to be the best author I can be, and because of that, I try to research the things I write about so I know everything there is to know about it. However, the current project I'm writing is proving to be challenging. In fact, I need to talk to a coroner, to research the decaying of a human body and any means of which to slow it down. Do you have a suggestion as to how I can contact someone willing to talk to me, despite me sounding totally insane?
All research enquiries sound insane. Sometimes, as when you are squodging through a sewage tunnel researching Neverwhere, they seem insane to you too.
When I needed to write an autopsy in AMERICAN GODS I called my family doctor, and he turned out to have been the county prosector, and we spent a couple of hours on the phone with him answering all my questions, even the stupid ones. (“Why do you have to put the organs back in the same order you took them out?” “Because otherwise they won’t fit.” “Oh.”)
There are a LOT of books about death, dying and what happens to bodies post mortem, that you could use too. Check your library. Talk to your librarians. In my experience, they like the weird requests.*
*do not stare at them in an unsettling way while you ask, though. Try to smile, unless you have an unsettling smile.